Matt Smith, the second finest Doctor.

After running it for five years I’ve decided to close down Doctor Who Is Dire. I simply don’t have the time to give it any proper focus and as such it’s begun to look a little anaemic.

Back in 2008 I created Doctor Who Is Dire as a fan site. I say fan site, it was more of a site dedicated to exasperated cries of why, rather than true fandom. It went by the name of Doctor Who Is Shit initially but after a few months I realised that Doctor Who Is Shit was a little bit inflammatory, so changed it to Doctor Who Is Dire.

The site was intended to contain a robust critique of Doctor Who, both old and new, but in the end mainly focussed on my thoughts and feelings about Russell T Davies re-imagining of the show.

Having watched Davies’ vision of Doctor Who since it launched in 2005, I had found myself becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of imagination and the willingness to trot out the same tired old villains time and time again.

The sense of frustration grew and grew until eventually it reached a peak with the screening of the abysmal The Sontaran Stratagem. Its ridiculous premise and hammy acting managed to completely destroy any hope I had that Doctor Who could be great again.

Most of the frustration I had with the program was due to the direction Russell T Davies had chosen to steer the show. It had become a vehicle for his egotistical desires and as the weeks progressed it became clear he was gradually working his was through each and every Doctor Who property, diluting their potential for drama as he went.

When Steven Moffat took over and Matt Smith became the Doctor, there was a brief period where I felt that Doctor Who might be moving in the right direction. Ultimately though Moffat’s tenure has proved disappointing, leaving me once again with the feeling that no one will ever make a Doctor Who series that lives up to its amazingly exciting premise.

Think about it, Doctor Who is the story of a 900 year old, immortal alien, he pilots a spaceship that can go anywhere in time and space and he also just so happens to enjoy humanity’s company.

The possibilities are literally endless. Yet we still end up with dross. Oh well.

All the posts from Doctor Who Is Dire have been transferred to this site under their own category and I’ll be going through, tidying them up and reposting them over the coming weeks. I’ll also still continue to post my thoughts on Doctor Who here.

Aren’t you lucky?

A demo I recorded a while back. I’d originally set myself the challenge of recording a rough demo every night for a month, I nearly did it too.

Anyway this was about the fourth or fifth night as I recall.

Whoa!

I’m not one of those who endlessly moans about reboots – unless it’s Doctor Who of course – as I see it books, films, games, whatever, need to adapt and move on as they get introduced to new generations, Star Trek is no exception.

I’m now ridiculously excited at the prospect of this movie. Action. Packed.

Server room.

If, like me, you’ve got an account with practically every online storage provider going, then you need Otixo! Otixo connects all your online storage services in one handy to use portal, currently it connects to a myriad of services including my favourites Dropbox, Box and CX.

It’s not only those three though, oh no, you can connect it to Google Drive, SkyDrive, SugarSync, Amazon S3 and even Facebook and Picasa for photos. It’s pretty comprehensive.

What’s more it also lets you access any FTP services you might have, which makes it really useful in situations where all you’ve got access to is a browser and you desperately need to update your website. No? That might just be me then!

The best bit is that all these services are then directly linked to each other through the web client. Which might sound like nothing but in reality is quite a big deal. Say you had a a bunch of files in CX that you wanted to be in Dropbox and you didn’t have access to the PC they were on.

Previously that’d have meant downloading the files from CX’s web client, then uploading them to Dropbox using its web client. With Otixo you just drag from CX and drop to Dropbox and they deal with the transfer. Brilliant!

Anyway if you want an account get yourself over to their sign up page and get typing!

Bill Hicks.

No single human being has ever had as much influence on me as Bill Hicks had. Not one. Sure, Bob Dylan makes me think and I like the Beatles, I’ve even been known to laugh at Monty Python. They never completely changed my perception of the world though.

The first time I ever saw any of his act must have been on Channel 4 (looking back it was probably Relentless), the vehemence with which he attacked those things that disgusted him was amazing. I’d never seen someone so angry, or informed, about a subject.

Virtually unknown in the states Hicks only ever really became moderately famous in the UK. Part of the reason for his lack of success in the States could be attributed to his poor opinion of America, and his disappointment in people he once admired. Jay Leno, presenter of The Tonight Show, was one such entertainer. Originally idolised by Hicks for his comedic ability Hicks noted that he’d been reduced to hawking Doritos at a point in his career when he was already comfortable.

You not got enough money, you fucking whore? You’ve got to sell snacks to fucking bovine America now?

It was this kind of rampant commercialism in his heroes that dissapointed Bill the most. A struggling young actor taking a role in an advert was one thing, but millionaire sell-outs was entirely another. The idea that anything could have a dollar sign attached and be sold, integrity included, seemed to rile him most.

By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing… kill yourself. I’m just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they’ll take root – I don’t know. Kill yourself. Seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously.

Outspoken on virtually all the topics you could care to mention from the Kennedy assassination to people involved in marketing, Hicks has left a lasting impression on my world and would suggest that you try and let him do the same to you.

Of late Bill Hicks has been derided as a fad, as someone who didn’t really have much to say but shouted and swore a lot, a man without any good material. And sure enough if you look hard enough you can find evidence of that on some of the recordings of his sets on YouTube. Calling an audience member a cunt wouldn’t get you many repeat gigs nowadays.

But looking past the shouty ranting reveals a man who really knew what was important, who knew the path the world was on.

Bill Hicks died of pancreatic cancer on the 26th of February 1994 and the world he left behind is just a little bit heavier for it.

Isaac Asimov.

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge”.

Isaac Asimov

Laurie Penny.

Laurie Penny is an astonishing woman. Actually no, astonishing isn’t correct, astonishment suggests I’m impressed by her and that very much isn’t the case. I guess strange might be a better word.

Laurie Penny is a strange woman.

So with this strangeness in mind I think it’s fair to say, I don’t share her world view, I do however admire very much her ability to blithely ignore her own insults in favour of taking mortal offence when someone else raises their voice in protest or returns fire.

Regardless of whatever the word might be that I’m searching for, it’s safe to say that I just don’t get her. She creeps me out. She has weird, eldritch ways.

Still, there’s no law against people being creepy or weird or eldritch. Or deceitful.

In the video above she insinuates that David Starkey – who I’m ambivalent about at this point – is xenophobic and racially prejudiced, which does seem a little bit strong. Further to that she then goes on to ask Mr Starkey – apropos of nothing – where he’s domiciled for tax purposes.

Class war! She’s obsessed with tax avoidance! The answer by the way is, rather disappointingly for her I suspect, the United Kingdom.

Things get interesting at this point though, Starkey, clearly having had enough of her bullshit drops quite the bombshell. To which Ms Penny – as he so beautifully enunciates – responds in a rather bizarre fashion, taking every opportunity to evade any response that would reveal the truth.

There’s much shocked spluttering, outrage and rambling prevarication, which ultimately leads to her deciding that its all too much and that, whilst she does have an answer, she’s not going to tell anyone because they’ve all been simply beastly.

Later on though she rather oddly decides to say she doesn’t take kindly to being personally attacked, after, having, well, just personally attacked Professor Starkey. Wow.

This is all followed by Ms Penny spewing forth a quite hefty amount of confused gibberish in which she at one point even manages to paraphrases Dennis from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

What is the point of this woman?